In the world of climbing, it seems that anything, be it a new route, a problem, a film, a book, whatever, elicits strong reactions. I was struck by this recently in reactions to a post by the Climbing Narc on a new film from Big Up called the Insiders. I was one of the first to respond to the video, saying that while all the pieces were in place, I felt something was missing.
A number of others chimed in, pro and con, with one memorable quote describing how the energy of the "haters" could "probably end our oil dependence." While a bit of an exaggeration, the hyperbole of the statement struck me. Since when did a critical reaction to something become "hating?"
The same phenomenon shows up everywhere in climbing, whether in the business side, the media side, or actual practice of the sport. Climbing gets people riled up. Is it because we are so passionate about the sport? Is it because, as is said about academia, "the stakes are so small?" I definitely believe that there are many hardworking people out there trying to make the sport better in many ways. Sometimes it works out really well, sometimes not, but either way, the climbing audience should have a right to respond as it sees fit, hopefully constructively, sometimes not. I don't have the answer to how to best critique someone's project and sometimes it's best to say nothing at all. But I know that I find my own work is improved by solid honest responses from readers and viewers out there.